Thursday, August 28, 2008



I want you to know of, and join in, the upcoming Eastham Windmill Weekend to be held throughout the Town of Eastham September 5-7. The theme of this year’s festival is “Those Fabulous ‘50s”. There will be all kinds of events and activities through the weekend at various venues such as concerts, antique car shows, historic tours, fun cookouts & meals, and of course the parade. For the complete activity schedule, please go to: where complete information can be found. And, since you no doubt love Cape Cod as we do, why not stop in our office at 4760 State Hwy in N. Eastham over this festive weekend, find out about the real estate market and check out some homes?

But what about this Windmill? Of course the center of Eastham is graced on the town green by this 300 year old windmill. Do you know its background? The following history of Eastham's Windmill, included in the Windmill Weekend flyer, is provided courtesy of Mr. Jim Owens:

The Eastham Windmill stands today as the symbol of a bygone era on Cape Cod. In its over 300 years it has provided flour, news and gossip for the people of Cape Cod. Built by Thomas Paine of Eastham, millwright, miller and Town Clerk for the town of Plymouth around 1680, it was sold and moved to Truro before the American Revolution. In 1793 it was again sold to one Seth Knowles of Eastham and moved overland using oxen to a site overlooking Salt Pond. In 1808 it was moved once more to its present site by Mr. Knowles because he had sold the land it stood on.

The mill ceased working around 1896 when it was sold to the Village Improvement Society to be turned into a library. Instead, a new library was built on Samoset Road. In February of 1928, the Town purchased the Mill from the Society for $500.00 in order to preserve it. The purchase price was returned to the Town and still draws interest to this day. A committee was formed to repair the Mill. Harvey Moore, Charles Rogers and William Higgins were the committee. William Higgins built a large lathe in his barn off Nauset Road and, using the power off a Model "T", he turned the windshaft for the Mill. When repairs were done the Mill was opened to the public in 1936. The visitors' book from that year (and all the others) still exists.

John Fulcher, who had worked in the Mill as a boy became the first of several millers who guided visitors through its machinery and history. He was followed by harmonica player John Higgins, then Harold Cole in 1948. After him, came the mighty duo of Freeman Hatch and Jack Webster. Jim Owens replaced Free Hatch in 1975 and Clyde Eagles took Jack Webster's place in 1979. In 1955, on the Selectmen's recommendation, the Town voted to buy the front half of the Green. The buildings located there were torn down or moved, giving us the lovely Windmill Green as we know it today.

A few other items: In 1930, the windmill got new arms and shaft, from 1944 to 1946 shaft and arms, again in 1957 and in 1962 a steel shaft, fabricated by Eastham Forge, Misters Brace and Putnam doing the work. On its trial ran in the spring of 1962, Otto Nickerson brought the Elementary School children to see it go. It was one of his last famous outings with the School, as he retired from the Principal's chair that year.

In 1980 the Mill ground 800 pounds of corn for its 300th birthday and had a temporary Post Office in the Mill manned by volunteers. The U.S.P.O. had issued a set of windmill stamps with the Eastham Mill in the center position.

Today the Mill is enjoyed by people from around the world as well as locally, and is the centerpiece for Windmill Weekend and a lovely addition to Christmas with its arms bedecked with lights.

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